Saturday, February 10, 2018

Criticising Scientific Bodies - Forbidden

It is quickly reaching the point where scientific integrity is becoming an oxymoron. What a dismal state we find ourselves in with this 'jewel' of rational enquiry and discovery; the great human watershed we have enjoyed for several hundred years and the product of western, Christian thought. What Catholicism started - science as we know it - the forces of 'enlightenment', government vested interest and sheer totalitarian interference will finish off. The enquiring Priest and the gifted, disinterested amateur Gentleman established science as the most productive driving force for knowledge and mastery ever experienced in history. 

One could also point to 'universal' education: that effort to raise the knowledge and insight of our young. It has reached down to the most dismal levels of intelligence and demanded that all should be treated equal, providing University places for young people who need remedial shoe-lace-tying lessons. Delivered by Professors, of course.

These dismal young folk, mainly devoid of Faith to go with Reason, feed into taxpayer-supported sinecures, mainly, ''tis true, doing the grunt work in laboratories, but some remain onward and upward in academe to get PhDs and get again taxpayer sinecures in great Institutes that are supposed to serve us. Institutes such as  CSIRO, Universities and the Bureau of Meteorology to name but a few. 

Not all are beyond the pale of course, but they do push out the really fine researchers and teachers whom we could rely upon to follow the Scientific Method with integrity.  

We had one such proper man of science spoken of in the Tavern today. Prof Peter Ridd. 

Professor Peter Ridd leads the Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Australia and has authored over 100 scientific papers. His University is trying to get rid of him for daring to blow the whistle of alert. Jo Nova blew too.
JCU bans Prof Peter Ridd from criticizing scientific institutions. 
Defiant, he refuses, fights on!
 JCU is trying (and failing) to gag Peter Ridd from discussing why we can’t trust scientific organisations
Last August Professor Peter Ridd said the unsayable — that we can no longer trust scientific institutions. 
His employer, James Cook University (JCU) could have explained why they were trustworthy, but instead they fired back with a formal censure and ordered him to be silent, effectively to stop him criticizing the current state of science or scientific institutions. Then knowing exactly how respectable, ethical, and scientific this is, they also ordered him not to mention the censure too. Let’s censor the censure!
If there was a crisis in science, what academic would be allowed to point it out?
It gets dirtier, apparently now they are even trawling through his private emails as well, hunting for more ammunition for their misconduct case. Who’s a bit desperate?
Hypothetically, if there was a crisis in modern science, with a failure to replicate results or a lack objectivity, this could cost the nation billions, risk the reef, slow medical research, and hurt our children, but  JCU have effectively said that no one they employ can talk about it. 
Does the state of science matter to JCU? 
Not as much as their right to issue prophecies, no hard questions asked, star on the tellie, and help their favourite political cause. (Science for Big-Government’s sake).
Obviously, Ridd is having none of this, and is determined to openly and brazenly breach both instructions. Tell the World! 
Furthermore, he’s taking the matter to the Federal Court, and raising funds to fight for free speech. (You can help!)
If Ridd loses, what person at any Australian university will be able to discuss systematic, cultural problems with the practice of science that are damaging our research and trashing the reputations of great institutions? 
JCU have a dismal record of isolating,blackbanning, and ousting people who disagree with the consensus (vale, Bob Carter!) This has to stop now.
Thou shalt not question the Cardinals of Scientificness!
From Peter Ridds site – the forbidden incriminating comment:
“The basic problem is that we can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies – a lot of this is stuff is coming out, the science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more.”
“I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef, I just don’t think they’re very objective about the science they do, I think they’re emotionally attached to their subject and you know you can’t blame them, the reef is a beautiful thing.” — Sky News with Alan Jones, August 2017.
On the basis of these comments I was accused of not acting in a ‘collegial’ manner.
Ironically, Ridd had submitted a paper on exactly this topic, which was published a few months later in November in the Marine Pollution Bulletin. It’s a peer reviewed paper on the problems with peer review (among other things). Eleven days after it was published, JCU wrote saying he had engaged in serious misconduct and issued him with a “final censure”!
So that which can’t be said on a Sky News chat show can be published in a peer reviewed science journal. It might be good enough to pass expert review, but don’t mention it to “a shock jock”. Imagine if the public started to question the words of certified, authorized scientists? 
(Imagine if the public realized that all those certified, authorized scientists are only certified and authorized as long as they speak the Uni-commissars approved lines?)
Peter had a lot more to say for himself.   Anthony Watts nursed his pint and told us: This is a MUST READ op-ed. WUWT readers will recall that just a few days ago, we spearheaded an effort to make a legal fund go “over the top” to help Professor Ridd fight back against the bureaucracy at James Cook University that was censoring him. Today, he penned an op-ed that appeared on Fox News online, and I’m please to say, he pulls no punches.
Peter Ridd hits back at @jcu James Cook University – hard
Science or silence? My battle to question doomsayers about the Great Barrier Reef
Around the world, people have heard about the impending extinction of the Great Barrier Reef: some 133,000 square miles of magnificent coral stretching for 1,400 miles off the northeast coast of Australia.
The reef is supposedly almost dead from the combined effects of a warming climate, nutrient pollution from Australian farms, and smothering sediment from offshore dredging.
Except that, as I have said publicly as a research scientist who has studied the reef for the past 30 years, all this most likely isn’t true.
And just for saying that – and calling into question the kind of published science that has led to the gloomy predictions – I have been served with a gag order by my university. I am now having to sue for my right to have an ordinary scientific opinion.
My emails have been searched. I was not allowed even to speak to my wife about the issue. I have been harangued by lawyers. And now I’m fighting back to assert my right to academic freedom and bring attention to the crisis of scientific truth.
The problems I am facing are part of a “replication crisis” that is sweeping through science and is now a serious topic in major science journals. 
In major scientific trials that attempt to reproduce the results of scientific observations and measurements, it seems that around 50 percent of recently published science is wrong, because the results can’t be replicated by others.

And if observations and measurements can’t be replicated, it isn’t really science – it is still, at best, hypothesis, or even just opinion. This is not a controversial topic anymore – science, or at least the system of checking the science we are using, is failing us.
The crisis started in biomedical areas, where pharmaceutical companies in the past decade found that up to 80 percent of university and institutional science results that they tested were wrong. It is now recognized that the problem is much more widespread than the biomedical sciences. And that is where I got into big trouble.
I have published numerous scientific papers showing that much of the “science” claiming damage to the reef is either plain wrong or greatly exaggerated. 
As just one example, coral growth rates that have supposedly collapsed along the reef have, if anything, increased slightly.
Reefs that are supposedly smothered by dredging sediment actually contain great coral. And mass bleaching events along the reef that supposedly serve as evidence of permanent human-caused devastation are almost certainly completely natural and even cyclical.
These allegedly major catastrophic effects that recent science says were almost unknown before the 1980s are mainly the result of a simple fact: large-scale marine science did not get started on the reef until the 1970s.
By a decade later, studies of the reef had exploded, along with the number of marine biologists doing them.
All dependant on Gummunt 'grants' which in turn are dependant upon doom and gloom predictions.
What all these scientists lacked, however, was historical perspective. There are almost no records of earlier eras to compare with current conditions. Thus, for many scientists studying reef problems, the results are unprecedented, and almost always seen as catastrophic and even world-threatening.
The only problem is that it isn’t so. The Great Barrier Reef is in fact in excellent condition. It certainly goes through periods of destruction where huge areas of coral are killed from hurricanes, starfish plagues and coral bleaching. However, it largely regrows within a decade to its former glory. Some parts of the southern reef, for example, have seen a tripling of coral in six years after they were devastated by a particularly severe cyclone.
Reefs have similarities to Australian forests, which require periodic bushfires. It looks terrible after the bushfire, but the forests always regrow. The ecosystem has evolved with these cycles of death and regrowth.
The conflicting realities of the Great Barrier Reef point to a deeper problem. In science, consensus is not the same thing as truth. But consensus has come to play a controlling role in many areas of modern science. And if you go against the consensus you can suffer unpleasant consequences.
The main system of science quality control is called peer review. Nowadays, it usually takes the form of a couple of anonymous reviewing scientists having a quick check over the work of a colleague in the field.
Peer review is commonly understood as painstaking re-examination by highly qualified experts in academia that acts as a real check on mistaken work. It isn’t.  In the real world, peer review is often cursory and not always even knowledgeable. It might take reviewers only a morning to do.
Scientific results are rarely reanalyzed and experiments are not replicated. The types of checks that would be routine in private industry are just not done.
I have asked the question: Is this good enough quality control to make environmental decisions worth billions of dollars that are now adversely affecting every major industry in northeast Australia?
AgitProp creates concensus.
Our sugar industry has been told to make dramatic reductions in fertilizer application, potentially reducing productivity; our ports have dredging restrictions that threaten their productivity; scientists demand that coal mines be closed; and tourists are scared away because the reef is supposedly almost dead – not worth seeing anymore.
Last August I made this point on Sky News in Australia in promotion of a chapter I wrote in “Climate Change: The Facts 2017,” published by the Australian free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.
“The basic problem is that we can no longer trust the scientific organizations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies … the science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more,” I said.
The response to these comments by my employer, James Cook University, was extraordinary.
Rather than measured argument, I was hit with a charge of academic serious misconduct for not being “collegial.”
University authorities told me in August I was not allowed to mention the case or the charges to anybody – not even my wife.
Then things got worse. With assistance from the Institute of Public Affairs, I have been pushing back against the charges and the gag order – leading the university to search my official emails for examples of where I had mentioned the case to other scientists, old friends, past students and my wife.
I was then hit with 25 new allegations, mostly for just mentioning the case against me. The email search turned up nothing for which I feel ashamed. You can see for yourself.
We filed in court in November. At that point the university backed away from firing me. But university officials issued a “Final Censure” in my employment file and told me to be silent about the allegations, and not to repeat my comments about the unreliability of institutional research.
But they agreed that I could mention it to my wife, which was nice of them.

I would rather be fired than accept these conditions. We are still pursuing the matter in court.
This case may be about a single instance of alleged misconduct, but underlying it is an issue even bigger than our oceans. Ultimately, I am fighting for academic and scientific freedom, and the responsibility of universities to nurture the debate of difficult subjects without threat or intimidation.
We may indeed have a Great Barrier Reef crisis, but the science is so flawed that it is impossible to tell its actual dimensions. What we do know for certain is that we have an academic freedom crisis that threatens the true life of science and threatens to smother our failing university system.
Peter is a warrior.

He has integrity. Personal and scientific.

He has free-pints priviledges in the Tavern. 

Drink to him.




  1. The institutional fascists are out in force.

  2. Carpetbaggers too, all catasprophising to get 'Grant' monies. Can't have one of their own contradicting.

  3. I saw his interview with Andrew Bolt a day or two ago. Peter Ridd is a true hero.

    1. A scientist with a rational mind and adherence to the 'Method'. Integrity too.

  4. Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been bloggingg for?

    you made blogging look easy. The overall look
    of your web site is magnificent, ass well as the content!

    1. Thank you. Several years. Blogging is not too easy as one has to 'compose' one's thoughts and present in a way folk enjoy. Rarely can one get it all right. :)

  5. I'll drink a pint, and another one for good measure. So, he doesn't fit into the 'global' Nazi agenda...good for him.

    Thanks for the info amfortas.

    "Great spirits have always encountered violence opposition from mediocre minds." Einstein.

    1. He stands his ground and calls out the mediocre who falsify.

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Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..